Priority Health Behaviors among South African Undergraduate Students


Health Promotion and Physical Education

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This study examined the priority health behaviors of South African youth by administering a questionnaire to 635 undergraduate students enrolled in a large metropolitan university in South Africa. Results indicate that 65.5% of the participants tried cigarettes at least once during their lifetime, over 15.2% had their first cigarette and 31.2% had their first alcoholic drink before age 15, and over 95.4% consumed their first alcoholic drink by age 18. During the month preceding the survey, 37.0% consumed five or more alcoholic drinks on a single occasion and 10.3% carried a weapon at least once. Over 83.3% percent had at least three servings of fruits and vegetables the day before the survey, 44.3% engaged in vigorous physical activity on three or more of the seven days preceding the survey, 10% rarely or never wore a seatbelt when driving, 10% seriously considered attempting suicide, and 46.7% had sexual intercourse in their lifetime. Results were analyzed by demographic variables including sex, race and age. Recommendations for campus wellness programs addressing these issues are included. (Contains 12 tables.)